Duterte: No outright seizure of fish catch by Chinese coast guards in Scarborough
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday there was "no outright seizure" of fish catch of Filipinos by the Chinese coast guards in Scarborough Shoal.
In a speech during the 120th anniversary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Duterte apparently echoed the statement of Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua that based from initial investigation, what happened was a barter.
"It was a barter in exchange for the fish," he said. But he added there was a "problem on the valuation."
"You do not have a way of (determining) in a barter, it’s wishful thinking. The value of that…we have misunderstanding here. It was not an outright seizure," Duterte said.
Some Filipino fishermen have complained that Chinese coast guards had seized their fish catch, some in exchange for cigarettes, noodles or water.
China has promised to investigate the incident.
Duterte also said the Philippines has talks with China that it can import arms if needed.
"Because here in China, we have discussion that if really needed, I can import the arms, the guided missiles. I can fight better because there is a new art of war now, it is not in the open field," he said.
"China is not my ace. But certainly I can have the arms," he added.
Some quarters have been criticizing the Duterte administration for its "soft stance" against China despite its activities, including militarization, in the South China Sea.
The Philippines and China are among the claimants in the disputed waters.
Duterte said the Philippines has filed diplomatic protests against China.
"This South China Sea, what do you want? What kind of pugnacious attitude would I have to adapt to convince the Chinese to get out? If I threaten them or file a thousand protests, which we did, we just didn't publish our protest. We protested actually," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS